Saturday, June 11, 2011

Black Beret from Hell

As a soldier boy, I have good news to report. Really, really good news. No, we’re not withdrawing from Iraq or winding down in Afghanistan. No, we have not dissolved the “military-industrial complex” and thus freed up our economy for less taxes and more social programs. No, the War on Terror hasn’t ceased.  Stop it!  None of that crap.  Even better.  I’m here to report that as of today, June 11, the Army has discontinued the black felt beret as the required headgear for the Army combat uniform. Instead, we can wear the patrol cap, which heretofore had been restricted to combat and training operations. As of three months ago we have a new sergeant major of the Army, Raymond Chandler III, who took to heart the voice of the common soldier and made the recommendation to the Army Chief of Staff.  I must say, I was ahead of my time, for last week during what we in the Army Reserve call Battle Assembly I was the only soldier wearing the patrol cap during the company formation.  As an officer I was trying to lead by example.  Didn’t want to brag, but….

I hated that frickin’ thing when they issued it to me in the later stage of basic training. We had to shave the fuzz off it, cut out the cardboard part, make the proper crease, wear it in the shower, sleep in it, talk to it, et alia. I even saw confused soldiers have sex with it during field training exercises. I gave serious thought to it, but in the end I kept things platonic. I found the beret less useful as a lover and better spent as a puke bag whenever I'd find myself drunk out of my gourd from too much Army whiskey at house parties.

The Army says the new policy will save money, because they had been issuing two berets to new soldiers. Now they issue only one, for a beret is still required for the dress uniform. But how about the saving of time, huh? I bet that if you added up all of the minutes that soldiers took to straighten their beret when stepping outside (for headgear is required outside when in uniform), it would equal…let’s see. Let me do the math. The black beret was required for every soldier for the last ten years (not coincidentally around the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal) and there has been zillions of soldiers. I’m calculating… So, basically we would have saved about 25 years of time. 25 years! Imagine that! That’s a frickin’ generation! We could have fought some good wars during that time, squeezing one in with, say, Iran and maybe China too.  Damn.  Now that I think about it, the discontinuance of the black beret might usher in World War III sooner than later.  Hopefully, the military will find other ways to use all of this extra time that soldiers had previously spent in adjusting their frickin' beret.  My two cents?  They should introduce black felt underwear, for it would offer better stealth for nighttime operations.